MONTEGO BAY — Approximately 180 delegates, senior brewers, brewery executives and equipment suppliers, participated in the 50th Annual Convention of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas (MBAA) (Caribbean District), which ended at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Montego Bay on May 6.
The Golden Jubilee Convention, described as a historic occasion, was staged to strengthen the delegates’ knowledge base, and provide a robust platform for the sharing of best practices.
Activities for the duration of the convention, May 4 – 6, were geared to promoting, advancing and improving the professional interests of brew and malt house production and technical personnel.
Addressing the awards ceremony and gala dinner, held during the closing session of the convention on Friday, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, congratulated the MBAA (Caribbean District) on their 50th anniversary, and for supporting Jamaica’s economy.
Mr. Bartlett thanked the delegates for choosing Jamaica to host their anniversary celebrations, pointing out that the association’s origins can be traced to Jamaica fifty years ago.
“In fact, the first such convocation was held in Jamaica, under the careful eyes of people like Paul Geddes, in whose memory a scholarship has been provided,” he noted.
He also took special note of some of the famous brews on display at the conference, and observed that there was clearly an umbilical link between tourism and Caribbean brews.
He said that tourism relies extensively on the skills and creativity of the Master Brewers, to produce the products needed to ensure that the industry continues to grow.
He said that if people come to the destination and they cannot get their favourite brews, they will go somewhere else. So the beverage services, and the commercial food preparations and the world class hospitality, that Jamaica offers, are the ingredients that have made its industry grow during the current economic recession.
“I am proud to tell you this evening that, because of what you have been able to do for us, providing quality products and beverages, we have been able to distinguish ourselves as a destination and, during the three years of the harshest recession that the world has seen in eighty years, destination Jamaica grew every year by three to four per cent,” Mr. Bartlett told participants at the awards ceremony.
“I want to congratulate Diageo (the world’s leading premium drinks business) for the investment they have made in building the human capital of the industry… representing some US $7 – 10 million. There is Project Tourism which is funded entirely by Red Stripe through its Desnoes and Geddes Foundation as well as an annual expenditure of some US$50 million on the training of the bar staff of our hotels and hospitality establishments across Jamaica,” the Minister informed.
He noted that during its conference, the association had given the industry an opportunity to reflect on its staff and skills, as well as what the products they have created have done for the country.
A number of groups and individuals, participating in the conference were, singled out for recognitions and awards.
By GLENIS ROSE, JIS REGIONAL OFFICE